We went for a stroll at the Pauatahanui Forest and Bird Reserve yesterday afternoon on a day that heralded summer.
The first pond offered some “Ducks are a-dabbling, Up tails all!” (The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame)….well in the third photo it is up tails all.
These were young ducks accompanied by their mother and sharing this pond with at least once other, very shy, duck family.
A Pukeko was poking about on an island in the pond but was reluctant to stand clear of foliage and with zoom at full stretch the photo is not that clear. Its camouflage is excellent bar its pristine white undergarments.
We sat at a second pond and admired the reflections and the Welcome Swallows zooming and darting above our heads.
All seemed quiet and still until out drifted this duck with her 8 very new ducklings.
Our patience was well rewarded and our reserves replenished from some time out in nature.
I nipped down to post a package on Wednesday and took a few minutes to see how the Coot family was faring. The wind was bitterly cold and at first there was just a sole parent in their usual spot. Across the other side of the lake I could see another pair of adult Coots and their young one so I went around the path to try and get some photos of that family.
However the Black Swan family were on the look- out for food or for dangers and with rather a lot of out-stretched neck movements from the parents I thought better of going towards them. I felt happier to pause and take photos of them once they were in the lake with their flotilla of 6 cygnets.
By the time I retraced my footsteps I spotted the Coot family I have photographed here and here and here. Look at these well-grown chicks now!
The devoted parents were working very hard to fill these bellies and I suspect it will not be long before the young are being encouraged to dip, head first, tail upwards into the lake to find food.
In a nice warm sheltered spot I found Mr and Mrs Duck and their three tiny ducklings. Mrs Duck close by and father duck on sentry duty.
And not far away in the shelter of a church building the Pukekos had bought their balls of fluff on extraordinarily long legs, out to graze and sun bake on the warm concrete path.
We put on our warm jackets and headed out to the Aotea Lagoon yesterday after the storm had passed over. I had a degree of cabin fever. The southern end of the Lagoon area is more sheltered so we walked around there noting the effects the gales had had on the wisteria and the blossoms that had been so luxuriant the week before.
The surprise came when we saw this lovely family of Paradise Shelducks ( Putangitangi) out for a Sunday afternoon expedition and free meal from the children with stale bread on offer.
Paradise ducks mate for life and these two were vigilant, attentive parents. I love the zebra-like markings on their 8 wee ducklings.
Mother duck is at the front of the photo, while Daddy duck holds the rear guard. Nature determines that the mother has the brighter plumage in this species.